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EDA sees positives for 2016, including likely new hotel in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2016 at 12:00 am

ALBION – The Orleans Economic Development Agency expects 2016 will be a big year for economic development in the county, with several projects years in the making expected to bear fruit this year.

Pride Pak has a new manufacturing facility under construction on Maple Ridge Road in Medina. The company is spending $12.5 million on a new vegetable processing facility that will add 80 jobs.

That is the biggest project expected in 2016, but there are other sizable efforts expected this year, including a new hotel in Medina, a new facility for Helena Chemical in Ridgeway, and an expansion of Western New York Energy in Medina, as well as other projects, EDA officials said during a board meeting this morning.

A commitment on a $4 million hotel could be announced soon, said Gabrielle Barone, vce president of business development for the EDA. The hotel would add four direct jobs, but would also keep visitors in the community longer which should benefit other local businesses.

Western New York Energy opened a new ethanol plant in November 2007. The company produces about 55 million gallons annually of ethanol. It is looking to expand capacity by about 30 percent, Barone said.

Helena Chemical is looking to move from Platt Street in Albion to a new site in Ridgeway on Allis Road, off Route 31. The $2 million investment will create 10 jobs, EDA officials said today.

Niagara Food Specialties also could commit to a $3.5 million project in Yates adding 20 jobs. EDA leaders said other projects are identified, including ones in Holley and Albion, but those company names can’t be disclosed.

Altogether, at least $22 million in projects creating about 115 jobs have been identified.

That follows 2015 with $6,270,000 invested in the county by businesses creating eight jobs. Empire Fruit did the biggest project, a $3,520,000 investment in Yates that added three new jobs in agriculture storage.

Western New York Energy also spent $2 million on a new 800,000-bushel grain bin. Velocitti also invested $750,000 in an adaptive reuse in Medina, adding five jobs.

The EDA spent a lot of effort in 2015 preparing business parks and other land for projects in the future. That work will begin to pay off next year with new construction and investment, including Pride Pak and the possibility of the new hotel on Maple Ridge Road in Medina.

“It’s been a good year getting ready for 2016,” said Jim Whipple, the EDA chief executive officer.

Paul Hendel, chairman of the EDA board, agreed that 2015 was a foundation year, laying the groundwork for projects in the future. Hendel commended Whipple and Barone for their efforts to make several sites attractive to businesses.

“In my humble opinion you do an awesome job,” Hendel said.